Michael Moore says he can’t sleep tonight and neither can I.
The question is no longer whether Trump has some kind of mental problem. The most conclusive evidence in this world of video is an old interview with Oprah. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpMJeynBeg
Compare that with his press conference yesterday (2-16-17) and the answer is perfectly clear. His wheels aren’t all on the ground. Now there are no complete sentences, the ideas are simply old obsessions, and the emotional level is certainly pretty much raving and ranting. So now I’m through with asking that question. He’s simply not sane.
There is another series of questions. When an ordinary person slips into this twilight, his family normally gets him to medical care because even if the problem is Alzheimer’s, for which there is no cure, it might rather be a brain tumor, a stroke, hardening of the arteries of the brain, and so on. Such behavior triggers medical evaluation FOR THE SAKE OF THE PATIENT. No one seems to be thinking about care for this man in those terms. So a good question is “why this neglect”?
There are a number of answers. One is the political consequences of admitting that a head of state is bonkers. What if this steady stream of foreign heads of state visiting is not to have a conference with a nutcase, but to see for themselves the state of the man’s mind and also to have a few secret conferences with the people who really are running the country in his name, as has quietly happened in the past with other unsane presidents? There is no way to communicate over distance that can’t be compromised. There must be personal conferring in a “safe” room that isn’t bugged. We assume there is a room like that in the White House.
Trump’s “nuclear” family is problematic. Their fates are so tied to their father and husband that they must be careful not to trigger retribution in terms of inheritance and keeping the money empire running. There must be various impulses to ransack the cupboards before the world realizes that any will written now will be challenged when Trump becomes mute and bedridden, any divorce the same, and any existing documents and entitlements must be protected — assuming they are wanted.
Instead of family, Trump has a circle of protectors and guides like none he has ever had before. People have told me that a luxury hotel is better than a hospital for observation and care. The White House residence is basically a luxury hotel. People are always just outside the door, room service is at hand, medical response can be there in minutes. However, they are not controlled by Trump. His physical body belongs to the American people now. He is a living symbol and extension of the nation.
Those caretakers watching him are not political and they have to know the reality, though they are undoubtedly discreet about letting outsiders know. The prevention of public knowledge is probably being accomplished mostly by people aware of the consequences of a president known to be barking mad. It’s all being recorded somewhere and will be public someday, probably after Trump is dead.
Legal triggers like the 25th Amendment or the reassignment of control to the Vice President are mostly based on the idea of unconsciousness, but consciousness is not an on/off switch. In cases of dementia the craziness can vary over 24 hours or even ebb and flow over days. Myself at 78 might stumble over names or, more likely, numbers, though there are days when I’m as much a shining blade of insight as ever. But laws ARE on/off and must be, in order to be useful. Impeachment is a matter of criminality, motives, but not everyone is willing to label Trump a traitor.
All these things interfere with sleep when reflecting on Trump, but other things are most troublesome. One is the rage of the world at change and loss, inevitable as it may be and as innocent as Trump might be. I mean, he didn’t cause globalization or world contamination or overpopulation or North Korea or mass migrations. Nor can he control them. He waves his tiny sword but he has no horse that can carry him into battle. Both the haters (and I’m a little surprised that he actually feels and names that hate, though it doesn’t seem to affect his thinking except to puzzle him) and the supporters know very well that he has no real control. But, hey, if God is dead, whom else can we rail at? Bannon? The Alt-Right is a creature of talk radio — nothing more.
Trump (and Bannon) represent the Third Party of Greed, though some call them fascists and they themselves endorse that, though they think of themselves as simply entitled by merit. It’s the American Mind Worm, which calls the acquisition of wealth “progress,” and “freedom,” and “get-out-of-my-way.” Other cultures have other names for it. Some say wealth is safety but this is a lie. Ask Kim Il Sung’s boys. Senators and representatives far past their sell-by dates and all the in-laws and CEO’s who benefit from the status quo would be happy to stuff Trump’s dead body and prop him up behind that empty desk in the Oval Office, so long as they can go on as they have been.
But there’s more. Trump fooled us all. We thought his dementia and mania were just bluffs, mere strategies that would be dropped as soon as he won the election. Few people played enough of a “long game” to realize how powerful gerrymandering and Big Data algorithms could be. Those who did pay attention have been fussing for a few years — we felt it here on the rez when the voting district was redrawn to cross the Rocky Mountains so that the Democratic skew of tribes could be diluted.
But the power of Big Data as accumulated by Facebook et al wasn’t even in our consciousness, even after we read the book about porn preferences in which nothing was as we assumed. (“A Billion Wicked Thoughts”) We didn’t know — but the Russians did — how powerful a rumor could be. It was a Russian who figured out how to make a dog salivate to a bell.
Now that we realize that elections are only marketing opportunities, we are most angry of all at ourselves, that we can be fooled so easily. Slowly, sheepishly, we look at all the little Trumps and Trumpettes who dominate our local lives because it’s too much work to fight them and because, as so many claim, “the system is broken” and the only thing to do is walk away. Where to?
I finished writing this post at 2AM. My last thought before finally drifting off to sleep was that someone among Trump’s handlers wanted the world to see what he has become. Otherwise he would have been coaxed tactfully away from the microphone and back to private rooms. I think those letting him rave on were the many dedicated bureaucrats who actually run the executive branch and who are opposed to chaos.